Olympics

In 1931, Germany was chosen by the International Olympic Committee to host the 1936 Summer games in their capital, Berlin. A few years after Germany was awarded with this, Adolf Hitler began to rise to power. During his rule he implemented laws making him and the entire Nazi regime powerful. Germany was becoming an unsafe country with an uprising dictator. People around the world became anxious, fearful of the Reich rooted in Germany. The Nazi’s used the Berlin Olympics in their hometown as a form of propaganda in order to make the Nazi regime and Adolf Hitler look less tyrannical. Although nations around the globe suspected the Nazi regime’s prejudices and intentions to start another war, the Nazis were able to legitimize themselves by hosting a polished Winter Olympics refining people’s perspective on the Reich.Before Hitler took control of Germany, it was chosen to host the 1936 Summer Olympics. There was some debate about where the Olympics should be held. Germany began campaigning for the Olympics even before the previous Olympics in Amsterdam had begun. Theodor Lewald was Germany’s representative for the IOC, International Olympics Committee. When he campaigned for the Olympics to be held in Germany, Lewald only advocated for Berlin, the country’s capital. He ignored Nuremberg, Cologne and Frankfurt, three candidates he was responsible to argue for. He even had a hard time pushing for Berlin because it was broke, but he insisted since he felt Berlin is the capital of Germany and would represent it best. Although Berlin already had a stadium built from the 1916 Olympics which were cancelled, they would have to make extreme renovations to expand and modernize it. Eventually Lewald was able to persuade the IOC in 1930 by explaining how the expected 10 million Reichmarks gained from the tourists would help save their economy.After Berlin was officially set to host the 1936 Olympics, Germany was taken over by a tyrannical leader. World War I left the Germans in a rut. They were suffering economic depression, unemployment and humiliation by their defeat. Ultimately they were not confident in their government, the Weimar Republic. Adolf Hitler was a powerful and persuasive leader that appealed to the desperate Germans. He was head of the growing Nazi party taking control of Germany. Working his way up the ranks of the government, in January of 1933 Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany. That February, Hitler announced his goal of securing living space for the German master race. That year Hitler formed the gestapo, an undercover Nazi police, took over local government, burned ungerman books and banned all other political parties. Adolf Hitler’s tyrannical behavior was already visible, and frightening, from the very start. The Jewish German athlete controversy led to a attempted boycott. Theodor Lewald, Germany’s IOC representative, was fired because of his Jewish grandfather. After Lewald, a new president Hans von Tschammer und Osten was elected. Osten quickly established a prejudice law when selecting athletes to be part of the German team. This law only allowed Aryans to participate in the German team, however the main goal was to prevent Jews and other minorities from participating. He also established other laws shutting them out and preventing them from training and practicing. This aryan only ban was a major violation of Olympic code and furiated people around the world, but unfortunately the Nazis did not seem to care. They wanted to show off their superior aryan athletes rather than allowing the most talented ones to play. The attempt to boycott Germany that resulted from this law, was evidence that people around the world were doubtful of Germany’s credibility. After news of Nazi Germany’s doings broke out, the world’s response showed a lack in trust for Germany. Many who read about the Nazi’s prohibitions places on minorities were furiated. Jews were being banned from all sports facilities from public pools to gyms. This resulted with an international call to boycott the Berlin games and a request to change locations. In the United States many accomplished athletes, Jewish and non Jewish, decided to risk their career by not attending the games unless there was a change in location. People around the world saw what the Nazis were doing and therefore decided to take action to try and stop them. These reactions show how aware the world was of the Nazi regimes uncivil ruling. Although many people in the US were suspicious of the Nazis, they were able to them to participate by showing off their impressive Olympic facilities. The head of the US Olympic Committee’s name was Avery Brundage. Because he was in favor of the decision to Boycott Berlin, the Nazis decided to persuade him. They invited Brundage over to Berlin and gave him the finest treatment. They showed him training courses that were supposedly for Jews and gave him a tour of the luxurious stadiums. He was very impressed by what the Nazis showed him and how they treated him. On September 1934, Brundage announced that the boycott was over and the US will be attending the Olympics. The Nazis were able to unofficially bribe the US into participating in the Olympics using their extravagant Olympic city which would officialize themselves.      In order to make people more supportive of Germany, the Olympics in Berlin were the biggest and most expensive Olympics ever held. New York Times reported on August 1st describing the opening ceremony, “At one side was an orchestra, reinforced by the drums and bugles of a half-dozen military bands, and above them was a choir of a thousand, all in white. At the other side a line of gray benches was broken by a square outstanding platform, equipped with microphones for the new Caesar of this era, the German Fuehrer, and his entourage.” The stadium was packed with choirs, orchestras and decorations. On an elevated platform the Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler, was very easy to notice. As people observed the extravagant performance, there eyes would direct them to Hitler. This was strategically planned by the Nazi’s so people would credit the glamorous their Reich. The show was so compelling that tourists, spectators, and journalists modified their view on Nazi Germany making it less of an enemy and more of an accepted country.           In order to make sure tourists had an enjoyable stay and left with a good impression, Germans did all they could to refine Berlin. Nazi storm troopers, also known as SA, traveled around the city sweeping undesirable people off the streets and sending them to a detention camp outside of Berlin. They cleaned the city, picked up trash and scrubbed the streets to make the tourists trip as comfortable as possible. SA even hung Olympic flags and swastikas around the streets so tourists would feel a sense of nationality and pride towards the host city. All of these actions taken to make Berlin desirable, ensured that tourists would leave with the impression that Nazi’s hoped for and report back good news.            In addition to tidying up the city, the Nazis also tried to cover up their racism towards Jews. SA temporarily removed “Jews Not Welcome” signs that were posted in hotels, restaurants and public places during the games. A well known Anti-Semitic newspaper called “Der Stürmer” was removed from all news stands. The SA subdued their violent behavior towards Jews in order to mislead the visitors. Lastly, reporters who tried to talk to Jews about their life in Nazi Germany and investigate their experiences had to contact the Gestapo, a Nazi police department, beforehand. The Gestapo would prevent them from contacting Jews and even go as far as to keeping an eye on someone who asked until they left Germany. The Nazis invested so much time and effort into having a respectable image because they were determined to be viewed as an acceptable/justifiable country.            The legitimacy the Nazis gained from hosting the games was recognized in newspaper articles. The New York Times wrote, “These Olympic Games have had an opening notable even beyond expectations, high as these were. They seem likely to accomplish what the rulers of Germany have frankly desired from them, that is, to give the world a new viewpoint from which to regard the Third Reich.” This article proves that due to the outstanding Olympics opening, it is likely that the world will change their view on Germany. The articles even acknowledges that although this was Germany’s goal, other nations will still view them more like an ally. Nations around the world tolerate Nazis Didn’t follow through on objectionsLegitimize Nazi party- allowed them to move forward with warconclusion